I recently read a very interesting piece by Rob Asghar. (CNN Opinion)
In it he analyzes the myth that US has fallen behind. The heart of his point is that real business innovation is a chaotic process and that is why the US will not (in the foreseeable future) be overtaken by other countries. He states that invention, innovative growth is a chaotic process and it is the American ability to thrive in the chaos that fueled our growth.
But once the innovations are developed, it is not chaotic. You can simply copy the winner. Also, it is cheaper to start out with the best, as opposed to work your way through the earlier inventions. Build 1000 iPods, as opposed to 100 walkmans, 500 diskmans, and finally 1000 iPods.
Other countries have been 'developing', not by actually innovating, but instead by copying ideas invented in America and/or refining them. This works fine - as long as you have someone else to copy. But eventually, like Japan did, you catch up to the US. Then you have to break new ground, which is a lot harder and tougher. It takes new ideas - and a willingness to let people have the new ideas.
Conservatives recognize this and it the basis of their 'anti-regulation' belief system. The more regulations, the less space to innovate in. But at the same time, regulations can keep businesses from conspiring against their competition. That is,no price fixing, not "drive them out of business", etc. Some regulations encourage innovation, as opposed to preventing it.
But the thing is, you can't just decided to innovate financially. If you teach your citizens to innovate they won't just build a better music player. They also demand other freemds. Speech, religion, civil rights. Financial freedom goes hand in hand with other freedoms. It's an entire culture, not a business method.
When the Middle East and Asia tries to create their own financial freedoms, they either fail entirely to create a real culture of innovate or spend half their effort sabotage themselves by preventing the culture from spreading outside the financial zone.
This is America's edge.
It is also a high risk strategy. In effect, it is the freedom to jump off the a financial cliff that lets us learn how to climb financial mountains.
Rob is pretty sure we are set for the forseeable future. He is almost right. The thing about Chaos is that it eventually settles down. The stablest form takes over. Unless of course it has a constant influx of energy.
Specifically, we need immigrants. That's good, because we have a large supply of people wanting in. The forces of stabilization know this and are trying to stop them. Here their clarion call:
"They took our jobs".
Yeah, THAT'S WHY WE NEED THEM. Let me make this very clear. I want all americans to be just a little bit afraid that an Immigrant will come to America and take our jobs. Mine included.
We need the competition. Competition keeps us strong. Not just between corporations, but between employees. Saying you don't want immigrants to come to this country and take our jobs is like the Heavy Weight Champion of the World saying he only wants to fight people he has already beaten. You get good by beating other good people. If America is going to continue to be the best, we need to recruit the best from around the world - and make our own citizens compete against them internally as well as externally.
Now, let me make it clear, I fully expect most of the people that come to America in search of a better job to fail. I expect them to end up as the 99%, not the 1%. Americans are very good at what we do, and it is tough for outsiders to compete with us. But some of them will win. Some of them will beat us. And by doing so, they earn the right not just for themselves to be an American citizen, not just for their family, but for their friends and associates as well.
But that ends up with a population growth problem. There are several ways to handle this, and one of them is a guest worker program. Not everyone belongs here, but we need to offer them chance. I like the idea of giving people the chance to come to America, work hard, and decide they don't want to live here for the rest of their life.